SPLA Coffee in Southern California, connected to Brazil, emerged from a transformative pandemic period with a new brand name, Aquarela Coffee, a new roast operation and a renewed focus on original Brazilian specialty coffees. unique.
Taking its name from the Portuguese word for “watercolor,” Aquarela shines again from the 350 square foot downtown Los Angeles storefront opened by Alex Eliscu Kipling in 2018, retaining its cool, industrial, São Paulo-inspired whites and grays. indoors while enticing passers-by with a vibrant pink, green and neon exterior.
“Iconic Bossa Nova and Samba songs like ‘Aquarela do Brasil’ and ‘Aquarela Brasileira’ highlight this word to describe Brazil’s diversity and natural bounty,” Aquarela co-owner Otávio Shih said at Daily Coffee News. “We opted for some really bright and fun colors on the outside, a nod to our Brazilian roots and the exotic coffees we showcase.”
Unchanged is the business’s continuation of bold coffees grown in Brazil. Shih’s hometown of Uberaba in Minas Gerais is located near a number of agricultural engineering and agronomy programs through which young farmers are opening up new possibilities in coffee production.
“This agricultural know-how is reflected in how the younger generation of smallholder coffee growers are pushing the boundaries of specialty coffee production with innovative and sustainable methods and processes,” said Shih. “We think it would be a shame if these brilliant producers did not spend their days in the sun here in the US market.”
Through its direct and ongoing relationships with Brazilian growers, Aquarela sources coffees grown at elevations of 950 to 1,200 meters above sea level, while testing them for moisture content before sampling them. weekly in the LA shop on a half pound Korean Boca Boca roaster. .
The roasting of the production is split between two San Franciscan roasters located on separate sites. A 2.5 kilogram capacity machine handles the selections of nano and small microlots, while a 10 kilogram San Franciscan roaster is used for larger batches.
“We are developing roasting profiles primarily based on the variety of coffee and the processing method,” said Shih, noting that the company is focusing more on fruity coffees. “We profile our roasts to accentuate these cup characteristics, and it gets even trickier with anaerobic fermentation coffees: with shorter roast development times and pushing more heat during the Maillard reaction, we bring out some of these sweet and alcoholic notes while maintaining the unique enzymatic profile.
The new retail packaging reflects the brightness of the storefront as well as the cafes inside. The black borders indicate a “soft and balanced” category; pink stands for “exotic and aromatic; »And the white is reserved for a series of coffees treated anaerobically. The background colors are inspired by the specific flavor notes of each coffee, such as the pink-peach label on the anaerobic Jose Ricardo Cunha coffee which is described as having hints of peach cocktail.
Shih said the company aims to increase the volume of coffee it imports for wholesale roasting, while also seeking locations for a second retail cafe in Los Angeles.
“As we speak, bags of some of the best anaerobic coffees Alex sampled on his last trip to Brazil are being airlifted, and a large shipment of this year’s crop from our growers. partners is en route to the port of Santos, Brazil, ”Shih said. “We are delighted that our retail and wholesale customers are trying these exotic lots, as we continue to push to educate people in Los Angeles and beyond about the quality of Brazilian specialty coffees.
Aquarela Coffee is now open at 714 N Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. Tell us about your new coffee or roast here.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.